Big moves to help smokers in hospital in Hartlepool

Health trust campaigners show their plans to help create a new smoke-free environment.
Health trust campaigners show their plans to help create a new smoke-free environment.

Smokers will be offered nicotine replacement therapy when they stay on hospital wards in Hartlepool.

It’s one of a raft of changes being introduced by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust which is re-launching its smoke free agenda.

We have started a questionnaire to find out both patient and staff opinions on smoke free hospital sites, including whether or not people support the idea of designated outdoor areas for people to use E-cigarettes

Clare Henry

And people can expect to see all the changes come into effect over the next year.

Other changes which are on the way include;

l Nicotine replacement therapy will be stocked on the hospital wards. When patients need them, they will be easily obtained on site, says the Trust’s bosses.

l All patients will also be screened for tobacco dependence and all inpatients will be offered nicotine replacement therapy.

l All smokers will be offered a referral to a community stop smoking service. That’s where they will receive specialist advice and support.

l All staff will be trained in helping to intervene in cases of tobacco dependence.

l And all staff who smoke will have access to a stop smoking support set-up through occupational health experts.

l Smoke free entrances and exits - across the sites at both the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool - will be promoted and enforced.

It all comes after the Trust issued a questionnaire to get the views of patients and staff on the best way forward.

Feedback from the questionnaire will be used to support the trust’s plans to promote a healthy environment.

It will also be used as part of a campaign to reduce harm from the effects of smoking and second hand smoke by making improvements to smoke free sites.

Clare Henry, specialist alcohol and tobacco nurse adviser said, “We have started a questionnaire to find out both patient and staff opinions on smoke free hospital sites, including whether or not people support the idea of designated outdoor areas for people to use E-cigarettes.”

“Initial patient feedback comments say it is not tolerable to see people who are clearly unwell with drip stands and oxygen standing outside the main entrances and exits of a hospital.

“The impaired air quality when walking past a group of smokers can exacerbate existing respiratory issues for some patients, which is unacceptable.”

The trust will be focusing on key areas outside the University Hospital of North Tees and the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

The trust has already signed the national pledge to be smoke free by March 2019 .

It is also working towards improving the smoke free status of both sites to improve the overall appearance and quality of the hospital environments.

Officials say the planned changes are set to be made across the next 12 months.